The Catholic Catechism states that prayer is the raising of one’s heart and mind to God or the requesting of good things from God (Catholic Catechism 2259). In their prayers Christians not only thank God or ask for something, but – and above all – they remain in awe of the Giver of life, the Creator, loving God, who has become most apparent to man in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus, humiliated and tortured by men to death, died to save sinners. God, in his immense love, transformed this horrible human act and Jesus rose from the dead. Christians turn to God and present their needs, their lives and their daily world to Him in prayer.
You can join this Christian prayer and perform it silently when visiting our basilica or any other church. You can take a seat in one of the church pews, or quietly stand in front of a painting, statue or altar. Paintings and statues are not themselves God, but they remind us that there are important persons who dedicated their lives to God and are now in His presence praying with us. Prayer can also be expressed symbolically by lighting a candle in the side chapel where the icon of Our Lady of the Rain is installed.
In the chapel of Our Lady of the Ramparts (Šancovská kaple) in the south aisle of the basilica, the Eucharist, consecrated sacramental bread (communion hosts), is usually reserved.
In every Holy Mass, wheaten bread is placed on the altar and transformed by God and prayer according to the words Jesus spoke at his Last Supper. A tabernacle serves as a secure and sacred place to store the Blessed Sacrament for carrying to the sick who cannot participate in Holy Mass. Near the tabernacle a special red lamp is kept alight to indicate the presence of the Eucharist in the tabernacle. Christians kneel down and pray in front of tabernacle so as to honour God and His presence on that place.
For centuries Christians have been discovering that prayer takes on an entirely new, different dimension when praying with others, especially when the Eucharist – memorial of Christ’s Last Supper, the Holy Mass – is celebrated. You can join this prayer during public worship. Holy Masses take place either in the Basilica of St Peter and St Paul or in the Rotunda of St Martin. Please respect that no tours, walking around the sacred space, photography or talking is allowed at such times.